Before leaving on vacation, I like to clean my house. I return from a vacation to a clean abode, fresh sheets and no laundry, except what I unpack from my luggage. So, what happens when my vacation is really just a week off from work without a destination? We stay at or close to home doing all those Christmasy things and (for the most part) not doing much of anything. Eevn with this long break, I end this calendar year with nine unused days of personal time. This may be a clue to my stress issues. I have allotted time which I fail to use. I have the option to decompress more (effectively) and I underutilized it. SO, I set off on this semi-sabbatical with a few goals in mind. And while oxymoronic, having a plan for your time off is valuable, especially when you are a workaholic and struggle against self-imposed guilt. My biggest goal was to get “organized” mentally. In the last five years (god, I wish I had a strikethrough key)….the last 10 years….I have been hurtling at breakneck speed. And I have been moving at that pace with two metric tons strapped to my back while wearing Nike cement blocks. It has been a feat, believe me. But, in the last four years I realized a few things:
1. I had not realized I was wearing concrete zapatas. What the hell was I thinking?
2. I can unbuckle and step out of the harness that pulls a cart ladened with tons of other peoples’ rocks.
3. Lighter and unfettered I am full of energy and also well-conditioned.
Lots of “I statements”. I know. But, it is my life and since I don’t think we get “do overs”, I have to make this a good one, an honest one and one that is true for me. While I could spend this one sliver of a life living it to please other people, consumed with how to please them and satisfy their needs, where does that get me? I do not think that Edith Bunker was beatified as the patron saint of co-dependency. She had her own God given strengths and purpose and I don’t think getting Archie’s beer or ironing his shirts count. Her life was not hers, the life God gave her was squandered on trying to satisfy or pacify her crank of a husband and sniveling ninny of a daughter.
This break will reset things. I dump the cache, defrag the hardrive, make back ups and delete unnecessary files. I upgrade and get updates. And then I consider the new day, the year ahead. What do I want? Where am I going? What are my dreams? And how do I get there? First, I stop apologizing…for being smart, clever, determined, successful, resilient and formidable. I am those things. I can’t be less; I can’t fold up so as to occupy less space. I am a big boned gal. I have stopped feeling like I have to take a one down position, offer you my throat or deprecate myself so as not to threaten or offend you. I really don’t want to get where I am going (or hope to go) by stepping on people. I am not that cutthroat. But, I work hard for what I do get and I sweat for every millimeter of progress. I don’t expect handouts, gimmes or shortcuts.
So this is my housekeeping time. Sweeping out the house. Bagging up the charitable contributions and things for the Salvation Army drop boxes. I am literally writing my goals and dreams onto paper. Before you build a house, you dream of the house, you day dream about the house, you doodle the house, you ask a professional to draw the house and make 3-D specs. Only after having a finely detailed plan can you BUILD a house.
I want to build a LIFE. I don’t want to raze the life I have had to this point. So much of it was good and beautiful. But things get damaged and even with the perfect replacement policy, a life cannot be restored magically to what it once was. It’s different. And since we are rebuilding…let’s build that dream. Let’s REALLY take some time to illustrate that dream and then find the ways and means to make the dream reality. I have no fear of losing my dreams if it means I convert them to a tangible REALITY. That means I can HAVE my dreams instead of just having dreams.
There is no shame in dreaming. No guilt in dreaming BIG and no apologies when those dreams become real. We should never stop dreaming. We should never stop believing in those dreams. And we should keep focused on those dreams. Isn’t the greatest dream of all lying in that manager on Christmas Eve? The promise of a beautiful eternity. If I can’t believe in myself and my dreams in THIS world…how could I ever keep faith in The Promise of Christmas?